The Ravens took the field in full force on the first day of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday afternoon under the hot sun at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills.
Several key veterans returned to the field for the first time this offseason for the three-day practice in preparation for training camp. The entire team will report by July 29 with practices starting the day after.
Terrell Suggs headlined a cast of players which included Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, Marshal Yanda, Elvis Dumervil, Eugene Monroe and Chris Canty all of whom were absent during the voluntary portion of OTA’s over the past few weeks.
Joe Flacco and the teams offensive line were still without center Jeremy Zuttah and right tackle Rick Wagner who continue to recover from injuries.
As with every mini camp practice, position coaches put their units through drills as special teams reps took place. Punter Sam Koch was booming kicks all afternoon including two punts in a row that fell gracefully inside the three-yard line.
Kicker Justin Tucker was tested on multiple occassions throughout the afternoon. The opera singing, Dr. Pepper drinking Tucker fared well making all his kicks inside 40 yards but missed from 47 yards. The former Texas Longhorn did however nail a 67 yard field goal with plenty of room to spare.
On offense, much of the same took place as it did during voluntary OTA’s. The return of Yanda and Monroe was noticeable as both players returned in shape and looked powerful off the snap. Monroe has a lot to prove this season after injuries took a toll on the veteran in 2014.
Wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. led the wide receiving corps as Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown and rookie Breshad Perriman all took reps with the first team offense. Smith Sr. had a solid day catching numerous receptions and, the ageless vet torched Lardarius Webb for a touchdown. Plagued by a few drops early on during seven on seven and 11 on 11 drills, Perriman rebounded well as the afternoon progressed and finished practice strong. Perriman hauled in a great pass for a big gain from third string quarterback Bryn Renner.
Tight Ends Coach Rich Angulo will undoubtedly put his unit through ball security drills, particularly the rookies. Second round draft pick Maxx Williams was stripped by linebacker Zachary Orr and 5th round pick Nick Boyle was stripped by corner Quinton Pointer who took the it the other way for a score. Boyle’s miscue drew the ire of Steve Smith, Sr.
On the defensive side of the ball, Dean Pees had his group firing on all cylinders for much of the afternoon.
The defensive line had a solid day of stopping the run with Brandon Williams finding himself in the offensive backfield on more than a few reps. Veteran Chris Canty returned to Clarence Brook’s unit and appeared to be a little heavier than he was at season’s end.
A happy and healthy Terrell Suggs anchored a linebacking corp that enjoyed a solid 2014 season. Appearing a little overweight which he later admitted, Suggs could be seen running from drill to drill and was impressive when he dropped into coverage. Joining Suggs on the field was his counterpart Elvis Dumervil. Dumervil looked in shape and for the second straight year took reps with both the first team and second team defenses. Second year player C.J. Mosley took part in individual drills however he did not take reps during 11-on-11 drills.
With both starters Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb on the practice field on Tuesday, the coaching staff got a brief look at a full cornerback unit. On several reps, Webb looked a bit timid, perhaps not wanting to start too fast. Smith provided a scare to those in attendence as the shutdown corner appeared to wince after being in coverage on a deep pass play. Smith however ran back to the huddle shortly thereafter.
For the second straight practice, safeties Will Hill and Kendrick Lewis ran with the first team defense. Matt Elam did however get some reps with the first team but most were relegated to the second team defense.
Quote of the Day: “Don’t give up a f’ing fumble and walk off the field.” ~ Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. to rookie tight end Nick Boyle after Boyle was stripped by Quinton Pointer.
The team will hold their second open practice of mandatory minicamp again at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
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